SeaPower April2015.QXD_Seapower April 2015 4/6/15 11:52 AM Page 64
its Marine Expeditionary Units in amphibious ready
groups. For example, MV-22Bs have been used to fly
logistics missions between amphibious assault ships
off Yemen and the U.S. base in Djibouti. The Corps
used KC-130J aerial refueler to refuel the Ospreys during the runs, greatly expanding their range.
During the Osprey’s development, which began
decades ago, the aircraft’s program of record included a
requirement for 48 HV-22 versions for a combat search-and-rescue role. The requirement remained moribund
as the Navy procured MH-60S Seahawk helicopters and
retained the older HH-60H Seahawks. The requirement
re-emerged with the requirement for a new COD aircraft, set at 44 aircraft. It remains to be seen whether
the Navy will use the HV-22 designation for its variant,
which will not have rescue as a mission.
A Navy spokesman, who asked not to be named, said
the Navy chose the V-22 over a modernized C-2A or
modified S-3 because “the Navy variant of the V-22 was
considered to be the best value to perform the COD
mission. The Navy already has an existing program of
record for the Navy variant of the V-22. As such, we
decided to fund that existing program of record because
it is the long-term solution with the least risk and best
value in meeting the 2024 Defense Strategic Guidance
and beyond COD capability requirement.
“The Navy, as a result of all the analyses to date, has
decided not to start a new program of record. The Navy
intends to fulfill the COD mission requirement,
beyond the service life of the existing C-2A Greyhound
aircraft, by funding in fiscal 2016 a maritime variant of
the V-22 program of record aircraft,” he said.
A C-2A Greyhound from the Providers of Fleet Logistics
Support Squadron 30 prepares to launch from the flight
deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson
Dec. 4 as the ship conducted flight operations in the U.S.
Fifth Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation
Inherent Resolve. The Navy has relied on the Northrop
Grumman-built C-2A Greyhound for carrier onboard delivery missions for more than 50 years.
The V-22 is built by a joint venture of Bell Helicopter,
a Textron company, and Boeing.
V-22. The timeframe is tentatively set for the summer of
2017 to align with the Marine Corps F-35 deployment.”
Boeing builds the Osprey’s fuselage, landing gear,
avionics, electrical and hydraulic, flying qualities, empennage and ramp, and assembles the fuselage in Ridley Park,
Pa. Bell builds the composites, rotor, dynamics, wing,
nacelle and over-wing fairing.
One of the points of debate in the COD debate was
whether the proposed contenders could deliver an
F135 engine, the engine used by the F-35 Lightning II
joint strike fighter.
Bell performs final assembly, flight test and delivery at
its facility in Amarillo, Texas, said Stephanie J. Weiner, a
spokeswoman for Vertical Lift Communications for the
V-22 program at Boeing.
“At this time, the requirements of the COD mission
do not include carrying the F-35 power module,” the
spokesman said. “In an effort to anticipate future requirements, we are looking at a potential solution to expand
the capability of the V-22 to carry that power module.”
The Bell-Boeing team demonstrated in a dry run a
potential capability for using the V-22 as a tanker to
refuel other aircraft, a role that could assist the safety
of carrier operations by serving as a recovery tanker.
Dransfield said there “is vision for using the Navy V-22
as a recovery tanker for the carrier air wing.”
Mulloy said the V-22 had the added advantage of being
able to use the existing Marine Corps fleet replacement
squadron (FRS), Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training
Squadron 204, which trains the pilots and crew members
for the Marine Corps’ MV-22s, to train Navy crews as well.
“The ability to tank has been demonstrated with a V-
22, but is not a current requirement for the Navy variant
in supporting the COD mission,” the Navy spokesman
said. “Independent of COD, the Marine Corps is investing in developing the aerial refueling capability on [the]
“We can put Navy pilots through it and not have
two FRSs,” Mulloy said. “There will be Marine Corps
Reserve pilots flying the first COD missions as we train
Navy pilots. Then the Navy transitions in as we buy
Navy V-22s.” ;
Special Correspondent Otto Kreisher contributed to this report.
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